The 2020 Stockholm Water Prize has been awarded to groundwater expert Dr John Cherry for discoveries that have revolutionised the understanding of groundwater vulnerability.
His research, which has raised awareness of how groundwater contamination is growing across the world, has led to new, more efficient methods to tackle the problem.
The prize, awarded by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in cooperation with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, will be presented by Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, at a Royal Award Ceremony on August 26, during World Water Week in Stockholm.
A leading authority on the threats to groundwater from contamination, Cherry pioneered highly collaborative field experiments and new systematic approaches to monitor, control and clean up contaminated groundwater, providing insights into contaminant transport processes.
This makes it easier to protect groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half the global population.
“Though the global water crisis is starting to get more attention, groundwater is often forgotten, despite making up 99% of the planet's liquid freshwater. Many people still perceive it as pristine when in fact it is threatened by human activity,” said Cherry.
“With the Stockholm Water Prize, John Cherry is recognised for his contributions to science, education, practice and for translating his well-earned stature into a passionate and highly effective advocacy for groundwater science to inform current and future policies, laws and collective deliberations that governments must establish to protect water, our most essential and yet most imperilled resource,” said the Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee in its citation.
SIWI executive director Torgny Holmgren added that Cherry made invaluable contributions to help the understanding of how the world's threatened groundwater could be protected.
Cherry is an adjunct professor at the University of Guelph, the university's Field-Focused Groundwater Research consortium director and G360 Institute for Groundwater Research associate director.
Cherry is also the creator of the academic field contaminant hydrogeology, which studies the leaching of chemicals and waste.